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of Marxismn,
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by Jacob W. Kipp
Kansas State University

LithographbyF. Michelis
of Professor Peter Paret, Stanford;used with

EVEN the most superficialreading of Soviet militarywrit- old regime. On the one hand, reformersand revolutionaries
ings would lead to the conclusion that a close tie exists shared the strong anti-militaristthrust of European Social
between Marxism-Leninismand Clausewitz' studies on war Democracy, whichviewed the militaryelite as the sources of a
and statecraft.Althoughlabeled an "idealist," Clausewitz en- vile and poisonous militarism.The professionalsoldiers' desire
joys a place in the Soviet pantheonof militarytheoristsstrik- forglory,like the capitalists' search for profits,only brought
inglysimilarto thatassigned to pagan philosophersin Dante's sufferingto the workingclass. All socialists shared a com-
Hell. Colonel General I. E. Shavrov, formercommanderof the mitmentto a citizens' militiaas the preferredmeans of national
Soviet General StaffAcademy, has writtenthat Clausewitz' defense. In 1917 the Bolsheviks rode this anti-militarist sen-
methodmarkeda radical departurein the studyof war: timentto power by supportingthe process of militarydisin-
tegration,upholdingthechaos ofthekomitetshchina, and prom-
He, in reality,forthe firsttimein militarytheory,denied ising a governmentthat would bringimmediatepeace.3
the "eternal" and "unchanging" in militaryart, stroveto These Social Democrats were also the heirs of the volumi-
examine the phenomenonof war in its interdependence
and interconditionality, in its movement and develop- nous writingson militaryaffairsofthetwo foundersof scientific
mentin order to postulate theirlaws and principles.' socialism, Karl Marx and FriedrichEngels. As Peter Vigorhas
pointed out, these two life-longcollaboratorsemployed a di-
Soviet authorspoint to the fact that Lenin valued Clausewitz' visionoflabor intheirmilitarywritings.Engels, who considered
workbut refuseto see Lenin's readingof Vom Kriege as having himselfan amateursoldier,dealt withtactics, strategy,and the
anyfundamental consequences forLenin's own views on waror impactof technologyon militaryaffairs.Marx dealt withinter-
militaryaffairs.2Soviet authorstake no note of whenor in what national relations,the impactof war on domestic politics,and
contextLenin read Clausewitz, nor do theyconsiderthe speci- the revolutionarypotentialof a given conflict.4AfterMarx's
ficmannerin whichLenin applied Clausewitz' concepts on war death Engels continued writingabout militaryaffairs,and in
and statecraftto theformationofthemilitarypolicyof his party. 1887penneda chillingpredictionofwhata generalwar would be
It is the purpose of thisarticleto examine the intellectualbond like in capitalist Europe:
between the Prussian officerand the Russian revolutionaryin
This would be a universalwar of unprecedentedscope,
order to understand better the relationshipbetween Soviet unprecedentedforce. From eight to ten millionsoldiers
militaryscience and Marxism-Leninism. willdestroyone anotherand in the course of doingso will
The ideological baggage which Russian Social Democrats stripEurope clean in a way thata swarmof locusts could
carried with them in 1914 would seem to suggest an undying never have done. The devastation caused by the Thirty
distrustof any ideas comingfromprofessionalsoldiers of the Year's War telescoped into3-4 years and spread over the

entire continent,hunger, epidemics, the universal en- i.e., the alienation of labor, the fetishismof the commodity
savagementofbothtroopsand the masses, broughtabout world, surplus value, exploitation,are not akin to sociological
by acute need, the hopeless jumbling of our artificial facts,such as divorces,crimes,shiftsin population,or business
trade, industrial,and creditmechanisms; all this ending cycles. The fundamentalaspects ofMarxiancategoriesdefyany
in generalbankruptcy,the collapse of old states and their
vaunted wisdom . . . the utter impossibility of foreseeing empirical science. i.e., one preoccupied with describingand
how all thiswillend and who will emergevictoriousfrom organizingthe objective phenomenaof society. They appear as
this struggle;only one resultis absolutelybeyond doubt: facts only to a theory that takes them in preview of their
universal exhaustion and the creation of conditions for negation.Correcttheoryis nothingless thana consciousness of
the finalvictoryof the workingclass.' a praxis thataims at changingthe world.7Marx put the prop-
osition succinctlyin his eleventh thesis on Feuerbach: "The
Engels had littleto say about what would follow this crisis. philosophershave only interpretedthe world in various ways;
Its very magnitudepointed towards a general revolutionary the point, however, is to change it."'
crisis across Europe and a rapid social transformation from WhatMarxistsacross Europe faced in the Summerand Fall of
capitalism to socialism. Once the exploiting and exploited 1914 was an anomaly so glaringthat realityseemed to negate
social classes had disappeared,the proletarianstatewould have existingtheory. In the face of its proclaimed internationalism
no need forthe militaryas the instrument of the state's monop- and pacifism,the Social Democrats of Europe had to confronta
oly on violence since the state would have neitherexternalnor general European war, which theirtheoryhad held to be an
internalthreatswith which to contend. impossibility.The Second Internationaland workersolidarity
were supposed to preventa general war among the powers.
True, as in the case of analogous circumstanceassociated with
TWENTY-SEVEN years passed between Engels' prediction scientificrevolutions,observers in the decades prior to the
and the onset of thatgreatEuropean war. In the meantime outbreakof WorldWar I had notedanomalies in maturecapital-
the heirs of Marx and Engels had become powerfulpolitical ism, which did not fitthe essential paradigmoutlinedby Marx
forcesin manystatesof Europe. Some parties,mostnotablythe and Engels. But the shock of modernwar, i.e., praxis, set offa
GermanSocial Democratic Party,had abandoned revolutionary deep crisis in theory.9
action, althoughtheycontinuedto mouththe rhetoricof class In Lenin's case, this crisis had a profound,but largelyunac-
confrontation.European socialists had in 1890created the Sec- knowledged consequence, for Soviet militaryscience. For
ond International,and theyexpected it to providethe organiza- Lenin, the committed revolutionary,the ramificationsof a
tional expression for a workers' solidarity,which was to pre- general European war were no abstract concern. On the con-
ventthe outbreakof such a war. But in the Summerand Fall of trary,because he was committedto changingthe world. Lenin
1914 the socialist parties of Europe, withthe exception of the requiredof theorythatit granthim"scientificforesight"- the
Serbian, actively or passively supported their governments' abiltyto foreseethewar's course and outcome. On theone hand.
entryinto the war. To the disgust of Lenin, the majorityof this led Lenin to review the substantialbody of socialist litera-
Russian Social Democrats were willingto defend Russia, no tureon financecapitalismand imperialistrivalries.culminating
matterhow muchtheydespised the tsaristregime.But Engels' in 1916 withhis syntheticwork,Imperialismthe Hi,g4hest State
vision came back to haunt them all. Total war graduallytore oflCapitalism."' On the otherhand. Lenin was concerned with
assunder both socialist ideology and European society in the the problemof theoryreconstruction,a task made essential by
same mannerthat the massed guns tore apart land and men. the apparentfailureof accepted Marxismto predictor prevent
In readingLenin's early writingson militaryaffairs,one must the war. It is most typical of Lenin that in the face of such
be conscious of the extent to which these views have been earth-shakinghistoricalevents, he should returnto philosophy
accepted without deep reflectionor consideration. Lenin's in orderto finda theoreticalframeworkupon whichto analyze
observations on the colonial wars of the late nineteenthand these events and to guide his actions.
early twentiethcenturies,especially the Russo-Japanese War, Unlike the dry and largelyahistoricalexposition of Lenin's
reflectthe preeminentconcernsfoundin the worksof Marx and views to be found in most Soviet works, this process is in-
Engels: the politics of war and the impact of new technology tellectuallyintriguingand highlyrelevantto our concern, the
upon war in capitalist society. development of Soviet militaryscience. This process in-
Withthe outbreakof World War I, Lenin's speculationsand volved a fundamentalrestructuring of Lenin's generaltheory.2
writingsabout war underwenta radical transformation. Ideo- Down to 1914,forall his declarationsabout dialecticalmaterial-
logies, like the paradigms of a scientificdiscipline, begin to ism, Lenin never transcendedthe historicalpre-Marxian,me-
disintegratewhen the exceptions or anomalies startto threaten chanistic materialismof the Enlightenment.In one of his ear-
the verycore of the model. Normal ideological discourse, like liest writings(1894), "What the Friends of the People Are,"
what Thomas Kuhn has called "normal science," becomes Lenin had asserted that "insistence on dialectics . . . is nothing
increasingiydifficult.Lenin's concerns were shared by social- but a relic of Hegelianismout of which scientificsocialism has
ists across Europe. In Marxist terms practice, i.e., objective grown,a relicof its mannerof expression." 13Whilerecognizing
circumstances, had called into question a central point of a need forsome philosophicalunderpinning to Marxism,Lenin
theory.In 1914 Lenin, along withothersocial democrats,con- did not himselfenterintodebate untilpracticalissues of policy,
frontedan anomaly of such scope and power that theirideo- i.e., whetherthe Bolsheviks would take partin the electionsfor
logical assumptionscould not but undergochange.' the Third Duma, broughthim into conflictwith the Bogdano-
Marxism,withits historicalmaterialistanalysis of the world, vitesand theirMachian Empiriomonism.When it appeared that
and itsemphasisupon class conflict,had held out the promiseof Bolshevism was being identifiedwith Machism and suffering
liberatingthe essential potentialitiesof man amid the depriva- Lenin did address the issue
politicallyfromthis identification,
tions of reality.Hegel had placed this philosophicalconcern in in Materialism and Empiriocriticism.14 Lenin's approach, and

the historicalcontextof his timeand so had made manifestthe one to be foundin Soviet worksto thisday, was to postulatea
fact that man's knowledge, activity,and hope were directed strugglebetween philosophical idealism and materialism:
towardsthe establishmentof a rationalsociety. Marx set out to
demonstratetheconcreteforcesand tendenciesthatstood in the The question here is not of this or that formulationof
materialismbut of the antithesisbetweenmaterialismand
path of this goal and those that promised it. This material idealism, of the differencebetween the two fundamental
connectionof his theorywitha definitehistoricalformof praxis lines of philosophy. Are we to proceed fromthingsto
negatednot only philosophy,but sociologyas well. As Herbert sensations and thought? Or are we to proceed from
Marcuse has pointed out, the social facts that Marx analyzed, thoughtand sensation to things?'

OCTOBER 1985 185

Two doctrinesformedthe centralthemes of Lenin's material- and of the differentclasses withinthem - at a given
ism: the externalrealityof the worldand the "copy" theoryof time.2"
knowledge.This can stillbe foundas the epistemologicalfoun-
dation of all Soviet writingson philosophy, includingthose The firstobservationto be made concernsthe revisionof Clau-
relatingto militaryaffairs. sewitzdone by Lenin. In Vom Kriege, war is thecontinuationof
politics but these are conducted by the supra-class, rational
WITH the unexpected disintegrationof internationalism state in the name of the general interestsof the entirepopu-
and the outbreak of a general European War, Lenin lation, which the state seeks to mediate. In Lenin, the state is
turnedto philosophyin orderto reformulate theoryin theface of stillMarx's executive committeeof the rulingclass, and so its
these anomalies. Lenin devoured Hegel and engaged in his first policies are, at best, the realisticinterestsof the rulingclass, or
systematic treatmentof the dialectic. His notes, which ex- worse, the irrationaland self-destructiveinstinctsof a class
tendedto about 300 pages, reflecthis changinginterpretation of caughtin irresolvablecontradictions.22 Althoughwell aware of
Hegel. Initially,it seems Lenin intendedto use his study of the influenceof Kantian philosophyon the youngClausewitz,
Hegel to give a correctaccount of Marx's materialism.But in Lenin chose to attributea philosophicaland historicalrelation-
the process of his study of Hegel's Logic, Lenin's critical ship to Hegel. Now, in fact, as modern scholarshipon Clau-
commentsgave way to enthusiasticacceptance. At the end of sewitz has acknowledged, there is an implicit relationship
his notes, he wrote, "In this most idealistic of Hegel's works between Hegel and the Prussian generalin the latter'smode of
thereis the least idealismand the most materialism."'6In what exposition. As Peter Paret has observed, German philosophy
was an explicitacknowledgementthatprewarMarxists'general did provide Clausewitz "with a fundamentalattitudeand with
theoryhad been utterlywrong-headed,Lenin wrote: the intellectualtools to express it." More specifically,Clau-
It is impossibleto understandcompletelyMarx's Capital, sewitz employed the dialectic as his method in developinghis
especially its firstchapter[dealing withMarx's treatment conceptions, i.e., the posing of opposites to be defined and
of use-value and the fetishismof commodities],without compared not only so thateach partcould be more completely
having thoroughlystudied the whole of Hegel's Logic. understood,but also so thatall thedynamiclinkagesconnecting
Consequently,half a centurylater none of the Marxists all of the elements of war could be examined in a state of
understoodMarx! permanentinteraction.23
The reality of war and the bitterintersocialistpolitics of
This most revealingact of criticismand self-criticism
marked 1915-1916broughtLenin to a radical revisionof Marxistthought
a fundamentalshiftin Lenin's and subsequently Communist on war. If the European workingclass could not deter war
ideology. This shift,denied in Soviet works forthe purpose of throughsolidarityand proletarianinternationalism,then the
maintainingan uninterruptedideological continuitybetween question became one of how to benefitfromanomaly. The
Marxism and Leninism, had radical implicationsfor Lenin's answer was to transformthe imperialistwar into a civil war.
developing paradigm of modern war. Maintaininghis revo- Lenin embraced Clausewitz in a fashionneverdone by Marx or
lutionary,internationalistposition on the war, Lenin turned Engels. Indeed, Engels' referencesto Clausewitz are either
fromHegel and philosophyto polemicalwritingson the war and banal or of a purelyperipheralnatureto the subject and topic
the politicalstruggleto transformthe war into an international under discussion, i.e., the level of education of the Prussian
civil war, pittingclass against class. In the process, Lenin officercorps.24Lenin's readingof Clausewitz assumed central
turnedto the studyof theconductof war. He receiveda copy of significance with the increasing militarization of Lenin's
Karl von Clausewitz' Vom Kriege fromG. I. Gusev, a fellow thoughtfromthe questions of organizingan armed insurrection
Bolshevik and formereditor of the MilitaryEncyclopedia. As to the command of the forces of the new Bolshevik state. The
an editor of the encyclopedia Gusev had contact with many Prussian provideda model of the applicationof the dialectic to
reform-mindedgeneral staff officers who after the Russo- issues of militaryscience, allowing Lenin to break down the
Japanese War had embarkedupon the process of modernizing "immutabiltyof the firmprinciplesof militaryscience" and to
Russian militarythoughtand doctrine under the banner of reformulatehis own conceptions of war and the armed forces.
creatinga "unified militaryschool.""8 Lenin devoured Clau- An examinationof Lenin's referencesto Clausewitz in the
sewitz' book, fillinga large notebook with his observationsin period after his reading of Vom Kriege is most instructive.
early 1915 and applyingthese to the politics of the socialist Marxism has always retained a predictiveelement, thanksto
movement. During this period we can observe the transfor- utopiantractsand the Enlightenment'sfaithin humanprogress,
mationof Lenin's dialectical materialismfroman emphasis on but in the face of a worldwar, whichchallengedthe most pious
the latterto the formeraspect.", hopes of socialists. doctrinerequiredanothertypeof foresight,
His firstcitationof Clausewitz' work is most instructivein a tool for immediateuse in assessing and analyzing the con-
what it reveals about his method and technique. The citation flictingtrends. In the Summer of 1915, Lenin articulatedhis
came in a work devoted to the collapse of the Second Inter- own synthesisof Marx and Clausewitz in the formof an histori-
national,whichwas writtenin the firsthalfof June 1915.2' Here cal typologyof wars coveringthe period 1789 to 1914. In this
Lenin presents his paradigm shiftin the formof intellectual essay, "The Principlesof Socialism and the War, 1914-1915,"
synthesisof Clausewitz, Hegel, Marx, and Engels, transform- Lenin drew the conclusionthatwar had been transformed from
ing the dialectic froman external process of 'copying" ob- bourgeois-nationalstruggles,which he identifiedas just strug-
served empirical phenomena into an internalizedtool for the gles by the bourgeoisieagainst the survivingfeudal order,into
unificationof theoryand practice: imperialistwars among capitalist powers. The firstera had
lasted until1871,and since thenas a consequence ofthe uneven
Applied to wars, the basic thesis of the dialectic, so developmentof capitalismthe number,extentand intensityof
shamelesslydistortedby Plekhanov[thendefendingRus- local wars had been growing over colonial questions, cul-
sia's prosecution of the war as part of a democratic minatingin the general imperialistwar. In this typology,war
struggleagainstGermanmilitarism] to the purposes ofthe had become a central feature of the capitalist international
bourgeoisie,is this,that -v'ar is simplythe continuation
oJpolitics by other(namelyviolent)means." Such is the systemand was presentedas a consequence of internal,i.e.,
formulationof Clausewitz, one of the greatestwriterson class, politics. '*War is a continuationof politicsby other,i.e.,
questions of military history, whose ideas were en- violent, means" becomes in Lenin's hands, a tool fora class
genderedby Hegel. And such ideas were always the point analysis of the imperialistwar and the emergence of anti-
of view of Marx and Engels, each war, theyviewed as a colonial strugglesoutside Europe. It is also a weapon to be
continuationof the politics of a given interestedpower turnedupon his opponents, those Social Democrats who had


agreedto supporttheirgovernmentsduringthe war, and, there- autonomy. Powerfulsocial groups grudginglyaccepted Soviet
fore, opposed Lenin's defeatism.25 power, but were already in the process of becoming political
movementsdedicatedto theoverthrowoftheregime.Lenin was
IN 1917, Lenin foundhimselfconfrontedby a revolutionary acutelyaware ofthetwo centralthreatsto theregime'ssurvival:
upheaval in Russia, which no partycould have claimed to the trauma of the continuingwar and the processes of social
have authored- save possiblythetsaristgovernmentin its own disintegration.These twin threatsexplain much of Bolshevik
incompetence. Yet, Lenin more quickly than other radicals policy duringthe Winter-Spring of 1918.
reached theconclusionthatthisrevolutioncould onlybe under- Negotiationswith ImperialGermanyand its allies produced
stood in the contextofthe war. He believed thathis factionand neithera compromisepeace nor a social revolutionin Berlin.
the workingclass could thusdirectthe war to theirend. In May Germantermsforpeace became harsheras Soviet Russia grew
1917, in the midst of the firstcrisis of Russia's Provisional weaker. The Soviet governmentdecreed the abolitionofthe old
Governmentover the politics of war aims, i.e., whetherthat armyand navy and on 28 January1918 (N.S.), proclaimedthe
governmentwould rejectthe promisedRussian territorial gains formationof the RKKA, the Red Armyof Workersand Peas-
containedin various secrettreatiesamongthe Allies and accept ants. This new force, which was originallydrawn out of avail-
a peace withoutvictors, Lenin applied Clausewitz to the ex- able Red Guard unitsfromamong the proletariatand remnants
situation.Lenin began "War and Revo- of militaryformationswhich had demonstratedtheirloyaltyto
lution" with what was for him the central question: the class Soviet power, began as littlemore than a stop-gapmeasure to
natureof the war. Afteran historicalanalysis of the rootsof the providethe regimewithat least some crediblemilitarypower in
conflict,Lenin turnedto Clausewitz: the face of thatincreasingGermanpressureat the peace talksin
The dictum of one of the most famous writerson the Lenin identifiedthe Red Armyas a new typeof militaryforce
philosophy of wars and on the historyof wars, Clau- in keeping withthe state formationwhich the Soviet Republic
sewitz, is well known. It states,"War is a continuationof represented.The Red Armyin manyways negatedthe imperial
politicsby othermeans." This dictumbelongs to a writer
who reviewedthe historyof wars and deduced the philo- militarytradition. But it also negated much of the prewar
sophical lessons fromthat history- shortlyafterthe socialist ideas about a citizenarmy,whichwould dispense with
epoch of the Napoleonic Wars. This writer,whose basic the services of a professionalofficercorps. Lenin and L. D.
ideas have become at present time the undoubted ac- Trotsky,the newly-appointedcommanderof the RKKA, re-
quisition of any sort of thinkingperson, already about jected the cult of the militiawhichhad been seen as the military
eightyyearsago struggledagainstthenarrowand ignorant embodimentof radical democraticand socialist ideologyin the
prejudice, that war could be isolated fromthe policy of nineteenthcentury. This break became apparent during the
the corresponding governments, the corresponding inter-partydebates over the acceptance of the final German
classes, as ifwar could be looked upon as simpleaggres- termsat Brest-Litovsk.Once the Germans had demonstrated
sion, which disturbs the peace, and then follows the
restorationof thatdisturbedpeace. They foughtand then theirwill to continuemilitaryoperationsin the East untiltheir
theymade up! This coarse and ignorantview decades ago politicalobjectives were obtained,concessions became vitalto
was refutedand disprovedby any sortof attentiveanaly- the regime's survival. Lenin argued fora policy of realism; he
sis of any historicalepoch of war.26 labeled the Treatyof Brest-Litovska "Tilsit Peace," an agree-
ment which would, however humiliatingand damaging the
The junctureof class analysis and the politicalnatureof war is, terms,buy time for the regimeto consolidate its power.3"
of course, Lenin's own insight.In embracingthe dialectical Again Lenin drew upon Clausewitz to justifyhis govern-
approach to questions of war and peace, Lenin sought to put ment's acceptance of the unfavorableterms as a necessary
revisedtheoryintopractice.In May, 1917,theobjectivewas the means of self-defense.October had transformed Lenin and the
transformationof the imperialistwar into an internationalcivil Bolsheviksfrom"defeatists" to "defensists" inthecause ofthe
war: young Soviet republic:

Withouta workers'revolutionin several countriesno one Since we became the representativesof a rulingclass,
can win in this war. War is not a toy; war is an unpre- which has begun to organize socialism, we demand from
cedentedthing;war costs millionsof lives, and it is not so everyone a serious relationshipto the defense of the
easy to end it.27 country.To relate seriouslyto the defenseof the country
means to be thoroughlyprepared and to calculate accu-
Lenin intendedhis analysis to provide foresight,and foresight ratelythe correlationof forces. If those forcesare plainly
in turnwas to preparehis partyand the workingclass of Russia inadequatethenthe mostimportantmeans ofdefenseis to
withdrawintothedepthsofthecountry.Those [advocates
for action. While the events of the Summer and Fall of 1917 ofcontinuingthe strugglewithGermanyas a partisanwar]
confirmthat Lenin could not control the social forces acting who would see thisas an attractiveformulain the present
upon the Russian polity, in July he went along with demon- situation can read about the results of the lessons of
strationsthathe could notcontroland faced theirfailureand the historyin thisaccount in old man Clausewitz, one of the
suppressionof his party. Then, in October he could not con- greatestmilitarywriters.3'
vince his own partyelite of the timelinessof preparationsforan
armed insurrectionagainst a bankrupt Provisional Govern- "Old Man Clausewitz" appeared here withoutideological trap-
ment.2' His own synthesisof class analysis, the centralityof pings,and Lenin's remarksdo suggesta carefulreading.Lenin
politicsto war, and an interpretationof the immediatepast that called to his reader's attentionthe three specific conditions
seemed to hold out the prospectof immediate,sweeping,revo- which Clausewitz had cited as being necessary to make such a
lutionarychanges allowed Lenin to speak of "scientific pre- strategicwithdrawalinto the interiorof the countrya proper
diction" and foresight.This, in turn,gave Lenin the confidence course of militaryaction:
to act decisively.
Upon coming to power Lenin had to confrontthe starkre- a. When our physicaland psychologicalsituationlvisa lvis
the enemy rules out the possibility of successful
alities of the social. political, and economic disintegration resistance at or near the frontier
which had transpiredin Russia in 1917, and to which the Bol- b. When our main objective is to gain time
sheviks had contributedthemselves.Lenin and the Bolsheviks c. When the condition of the countryis favorable to it
found themselves the nominal rulers of a vast countryin the 32

process of disintegrationas nationalminorities,whichhad been

held in check by the autocratic police power, sought national For Lenin the thirdfactorwas decisive in dictatinga peace with

OCTOBER 1985 187

Germany.The Soviet Republic had just overseen the abolition justify its decision to utilize voenspetsy on the basis of the
of the old armyand was only thenin the process of creatinga writingsof Marx and Engels. To this, Lenin responded that
new one. Internalunrestand an emergingthreatof civil war neitherman could offerany guidance on thisquestionbecause,
made it imperativefor the Soviet governmentto concentrate "for themthe question did not existforthe simplereason thatit
upon the internal,i.e., class war, which Lenin viewed as de- arose only when we (the Bolsheviks) undertook the con-
cisive for the survivalof the dictatorshipof the proletariat. struction of the Red Army."38
Lenin rejected out-of-handleft-wingromanticism, which M. N. Tukhachevsky,a formertsaristofficerhimself,wrote
called for a partisan war against the German invaders. For to Lenin that the new regime was unlikelyto get eitherthe
Lenin the 'breathingspace" was to providean opportunityfor brightestor the best fromthe formertsaristofficercorps. Much
the regimeto arm itselfwitha powerfulstandingarmy.Nikolai of it was badly educated and thereforeprofessionallyincom-
Bukharin,one of those who advocated a guerrillawar, or par- petent.Many oftheverybest had alreadygiventheirlives on the
ticanstvo,recognized Lenin's priorities: battlefieldsof the Eastern Front, and of the rest, many had
already chosen to side withthe Whites.3"Others,most notably
Comrade Lenin has chosen to define revolutionarywar the TsaritsynShaika (gang) whichgrew up aroundJ. V. Stalin,
only and exclusively as a war of large armies in accor- K. Voroshilov and S. M. Budennyi,raised politicalobjections
dance to all the rules of militaryscience. We propose that and called intoquestionthe loyaltiesof voenspetsysentto their
war fromour side - at least in the beginning- will
inevitablytake the characterof a partisan war of flying
detachments.33 Lenin and Trotskyanswered these critics by assertingthat

they grossly underestimatedthe positive role that v'oenspetsy
ENIN not onlygot the Partyto accept Brest-Litovsk,butin could play, failedto appreciate the value of bourgeoismilitary
the monthsfollowingthe ratificationof the treatyas civil science, and overestimated the value of partisan warfare.4
war erupted across Russia, Lenin and Trotsky directed the Under conditionsof dire emergencyand withappropriatepo-
creationof a powerfulstandingarmy. In this process, the two litical controls to guarantee theirloyalty,they saw the voen-
men played an instrumental role in shapinga series of decisions spetsy and bourgeois specialists in general as critical to the
that would affect the institutionalrelationship between the survival of Soviet power. The regimeneeded professionalex-
Partyand the militaryand the ideological relationshipbetween pertisefromany source that could provide it:
Marxism-Leninismand militaryscience. One of the most im- But although our party is thoroughlyand inseparably
portantinitialdecisions was the acceptance of the mobilization linkedwiththe workingclass, it neverwas and nevercan
of formertsarist officersas militaryspecialists, voenspetsy. become the simplebooster of the workingclass, whichis
Colonel 1. A. Korotkov has creditedthese "spetsy" with"the content with all that the workers do . . . The proletariat
firststeps of Soviet militaryscience.''4 and even morethe peasant masses have onlyjust emerged
Two elementsseemed to have shaped Lenin's attitudeon this frommany centuriesof slavery and carryin themselves
question. The firstwas his general respect for professional all the consequences of oppression,ignorance,and dark-
competence. At the core of Lenin's theoryof the partywas the ness. The seizure of power in and of itselfhas not at all
transformed the workingclass and has not attiredit with
concept of leadership by professional revolutionariesas out- all the necessary merits and qualities: the seizure of
lined in WliatIs To Be Done? so manyyears before. Lenin had power has only opened before it the possibilityto really
little use for amateurs in politics, culture, or the military. learn, develop and purge itselfof its own historicaldefi-
Second, Lenin's realismmade himacutelyaware oftheneed for ciencies.42
professionallycompetentstrategicleadership,ifthe regimewas
to survive.3sAlthoughSoviet authors still vilifyTrotskyfor a The spetsy became the instrumentsthroughwhich a future
policy of "capitulation" before the so-called professionalcre- generationof Communistcadre would be created. The iowen-
dentials of the voenspetsy, his views in 1918 were close to sp)etsyplayed a crucial role in the formationof the Soviet staff
Lenin's. Afterthe decision had been made to recruitbourgeois and officer-education systemsduringthe Civil War and in the
specialistsforthe Red Armyon 31 March 1918. Trotskywrote postwar decade.43On 8 May 1918,the Soviet governmentcre-
the followingcomments,explaininghis support for the mea- ated the All-Russian Main Staff,and subordinatedit to the
sure. which he considered essential to the survival of the RevolutionaryMilitarySoviet of the Republic (RVSR). In June
regime: the firstnumberof Voennoc delo (MilitaryAffairs),the Red
Army's firstmilitary-theoretical journal appeared. The pres-
We need a real armed force,constructedon the basis of tigious Voennaia mysl' of the modern Soviet Armed Forces
militaryscience. The active and systematicparticipation
in all our work of the militaryspecialists is thereforea can trace its originsthrougha series of succeedingjournals to
matterof vital importance.The militaryspecialists must that publication.44In August 1918, the RVSR authorizedthe
have guaranteedto themthe possibilityof exertingtheir creationof the Military-Historical Commissionforthe Writing
powers honestlyand honorablyin the matterof the cre- of the History of World War I.4' Those developments,when
ation of the army.3" combined with the effortsto restore discipline, end the ko-
mitetshchina,and begin conscription,confirmthe accuracy of
Neither he nor Lenin had any blind faithin the political re- Bukharin's assessment of Lenin's militarypolicy directed
liabilityof formertsarist officersdrawn from the privileged towardsthe creationof a professionalmilitaryestablishment.If
classes of the old regime.On 18 April 1918. withintheNarkom further evidence of thisdirectionwas needed, Lenin providedit
po l'oennymdclam (People's Commissariat for MilitaryAf- by arguingfor the creation of the MilitaryAcademy of the
fairs),theSoviet statecreatedtheCommissarBureau to oversee General StaffoftheRed Armyand callingfortheuse ofthemost
the recruitmentand assignmentof the political commissarsas qualified members of the teaching staffof the tsaristgeneral
watchdogs over the wOenspetsv."3The question of the loyalty staffacademy to man the new academy in October 1918withits
and value of the iowenspetsy became one of the most volatile firstclasses being held in December.46
issues of militarypolicy for the Party duringthe Civil War. To those socialists who accused him of revisionism and
Some Bolsheviks/Communistsobjected to the specialists on militarism,Lenin repliedthatthe Soviet government'sdecision
ideological grounds; others questioned their utilityon the flowed fromthe events, i.e. fromthe demands of praxis. In
groundsof theirtechnical competency. Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky," written
Initially,theoppositionto the voenspevtsyhad come fromLeft in 1918, Lenin stated that a new social class upon coming to
Communistswho favoreda guerrillawarfarefoughtalong class power could do nothingelse but disband the old army. But in
lines. This iMilitary Opposition" demanded that the Party orderto stayin power withthe threatof civil war mounting,the


regimehad to establisha new army,a new discipline,and a new preventthe formationof a grand,anti-Sovietcoalition. In this
militaryorganization, based upon the correlation of forces process he counted upon uneven capitalist developmentand
confronting the victoriousclass.47 geopolitical circumstances to aid his regime while it sought
With the outbreak of the Civil War and the beginningof anotherbreathingspace.
foreignintervention the Soviet Republic imposed War Commu- MikhailFrunze, one of the most notableRed commandersof
nism, carried out the total nationalizationof all means of pro- the Civil War and the fatherof the concept of a Soviet 'unified
duction,embarkedupon a policyof extremeadministrative cen- militarydoctrine," put this Leninist formula of a long and
tralization, draconian social legislation, and the forced ex- intense strugglewith the world capitalist system in military
propriationof grain from Russia's villages. Thus practicing terms:
total war withinthe context of a civil war, Lenin and the
CommunistParty were able to field their new army, which Between our proletarianstateand therestofthebourgeois
numbered5.5 millionmen by 1921, and defeat the Whites.48 world there can only be one condition- that of long,
persistent,desperate war to the death: a war which de-
Lenin consideredthis state socialism to be a Marxistvariation mands colossal tenacity,steadfastness,inflexibility, and
of the statecapitalistregimeswhichhad prosecutedWorld War a unityof will. . . The state of open warfaremay give
I. Some Party leaders agreed with this characterization,but way to some sort of contractualrelationshipwhich per-
came to see beneath it the threatof a twentieth-century Levi- mits,up to a definitelevel, the peacefulcoexistence ofthe
athan state, Bukharindescribed this warfarestate as: warringsides. These contractualformsdo not change the
fundamental character of these relations. . . . The com-
. . . a militaristicstate capitalism. Centralization be- mon, parallel existence of our proletarianSoviet state
comes the centralizationof the barracks;amongthe elites withthestatesofthebourgeoisworldfora protactedperiod
the vilest militarisminevitablyintensifiesas does the is impossible.`'3
brutalregimentation and bloody repressionofthemasses.
Frunze summedup the essence of militarizedMarxism.Here
Lenin did not share Bukharin'sfearsregardingsuch an order. Clausewitz' dictum on war as a continuationof politics was
But, by 1921he had concluded thatWar Communismhad to be applied to the strugglebetween the Communistand capitalist
abandoned. In his defenseof the New Economic Policy withits systems which must end in the victory of one and the an-
toleranceforthe restorationof the marketin agriculture,small- nihilationof the other.Limitation,definedas the articulationof
scale industry,and internaltrade, the militarizationof Lenin's specificends and means in keepingwitha given correlationof
thoughtpersisted.In the Summerof 1921 Lenin explained the forces,became nothingmorethana tacticaldecision. Accepting
shiftin partyline to foreigncommunistsby describingthe new the terriblelogic of this position led to the recognitionof the
policy as anothertactic imposed upon the regime by the do- need to prepare for total war. It placed great stressupon eco-
mesticsituation.He justifiedthe NEP as a means of providing nomicpreparationsforwar, state-directedindustrialization, the
for the survival of the regime in the face of a restablized, peacetime mobilizationof the citizenry,and the centralcom-
capitalist Europe: mand and controlof the state machine.
So, we have begun our new tactic[the NEP]. There is no AfterFrunze's death in 1925 M. N. Tukhachevskii,one of
need to be nervous,we cannot be too late, and ifyou ask, Lenin's favored young commanders and Frunze's close col-
how longcan Russia holdout, we answer,thatwe are now laborator,began to call fora militarization [voenizatsiia] of the
conductinga war with the pettitebourgeoisie, with the entirecountryincludingstate-directedindustrialization."Tu-
peasantry,an economic war which is more dangerousto khachevskiijustifiedsuch a course by referring to the existing
us than the late civil war. But as Clausewitz said, the capitalist encirclement and the mechanization of warfare,
elementsof war are dangerous,and we have not forone which he and others in the RKKA Staffwere already antici-
instance stood outside that danger."
L patingin theirdiscussions of "futurewar." He did not, how-
ENIN has come full circle. War and politics have been ever,findmuchsupportforsuch views withintheupperreaches
transposed as subject and object. Here politics have be- of the Party. Ironically,as the Soviet state embarkedupon the
come a continuationof war by other means. The NEP was a process of dismantlingthe NEP, total mobilizationof the so-
tactical device to restore the national economy and regain ciety, super industrialization, and forced collectivization,
peasant supportin theface of armed uprisingsat Kronstadtand which he had advocated, Stalin removed him fromthe central
in the Tambov region.The NEP's success as an economic and leadership of the RKKA. In May 1928 Tukhachevskii was
political measure was in no small degree dependent upon the reassigned fromhis post as Chief of Staffof the RKKA and
demobilizationoftheRed Army,and Lenin in his last monthsof "exiled" to the command of the Leningrad MilitaryDistrict.
activitybeforehis finalillness supportedthecreationofa mixed To theirdismayBukharinand the Party's ring-wing now saw
cadre and territorial militaryforce.>' The militarypolicy of the theirally, Stalin,embracethe verypolicies whichthreatenedto
Party and its general line were thus fused. Indeed, during create a leviathan,the warfarestate,whichtheyso feared.Even
Lenin's final illness V. Sorin wrote in Pravda that in a dis- afterthe Partyhad embarkedupon his programof super indus-
cussion withhim,Lenin had recommendedthatPartyworkers trialization and collectivization in the First Five Year Plan
read Clausewitz since politicaltacticsand militarytactics were Stalin did not immediatelyembrace militarizationas an objec-
iadjoining fields" (Grenzgebiet).'2 tive or use it to justifythe tremendoussacrificesimposed upon
Lenin's militarizationof Marxism involved a substantial town and village. In the Summer of 1930 Stalin identifiedhis
shift in the place of war in socialist ideology. War, while new revolutionfrom above with Peter I's transformation of
previouslyseen as a social evil imposed upon the workingclass, Russia and relatedthe buildingof factoriesto economic mobil-
had never stood at the centerof Marxistanalysis of capitalism. ization forwar. Tukhachevskiireturnedto favorand took over
Lenin put it there. He emphasized the inevitabilityof wars as Deputy Commissarof Defense and Director of Armaments.
among capitaliststates in the age of imperialismand presented In 1931,whenthe warfarestatewas alreadyunderconstruction,
thearmedstruggleofthe workingclass as the onlypathtowards Stalin defendedthe choice in his own Social-Darwinistrender-
the eventual eliminationof war. With war at the center of his ing of militarizedMarxism:
analysis of capitalism, Lenin and his followers, when con-
frontedby civil war and foreignintervention, extendedwar and Those who fallbehind,get beaten. . .. Such is thejungle
the systematicpreparationfor war as indispensable elements law of capitalism. You are backward, you are weak-
for the survival of the Soviet state, surroundedas it was by therefore,you are wrong. Hence, you can be beaten and
capitalist powers. Lenin hoped to use a policy of peaceful enslaved. You are mighty; therefore, you are right.
coexistence to aid in therecoveryof the Soviet economyand to Hence, we must be wary of you.>'

OCTOBER 1985 189

REFERENCES 16. Ibid., 215.
1. 1. A. Shavrovand M. I. Galkin,eds., Metodologiia voenno- 17. Ibid., 162.
nlli(chnog(o/oznaniia (Moscow: Voenizdat., 1977), 96. 18. Iu. I. Koroblev, V. I. Lenin i -asIhi(IltU
cht- Cal'oevlii
2. A. S. Milovidov and V. G. Kozlov, ed., FilosoJfkoenas- ikogo oktiatbria,2nd Edition (Moscow: Nauka, 1979). 90.
ledie V. I. Lenina i problemy sovremennoi voiny (Moscow: 19. "Vypuski i zamechaniia na kniguKlauzewitsa?O voine
Voenizdat, 1972), 95-96. i vedenii voin'," Leninskiisbornik, 12 (1931), 387-452. For an
3. Recent works dealing withthe disintegrationof the Rus- Englishtranslationsee Donald E. Davis and WalterS. G. Ohn,
sian armedforcesin 1917includeAllen K. Wildman,ThleEnd of eds., "Lenin's Notebook on Clausewitz," Soviet ArmedForces
the Russian ImperiailArmyand the Soldiers' Revolt (March- Review Annuial(Gulf Breeze, Florida: Academic International
April 1917), (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980); Press, 1977), I, 188-229.
Norman Saul, Sailors in Revolt: The Baltic Fleet in 1917 (Law- 20. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie soc Iinenii, 26, 224.
rence: The Regents Press of Kansas, 1978); Evan Mawdsley, 21. Ibid.
The RuissitnReviolutionand theBaltic Fleet: Wlarand Politics, 22. Ibid., Selected Works,2 (Moscow, 1960), 320.
February1917-April19/8(New York: Barnes and Noble. 1978); 23. Peter Paret, "The Genesis of On War," in Carl von
and M. Frenkin.Riisskaitaarmiia i revoliuitsiia(Munich: Logos, Clausewitz, On War (Princeton: Princeton UniversityPress,
1978). 1976), 15-16.
4. P. H. Vigor,The Soviet Vietwof'War,Peace and Neutrality 24. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, 14
(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975), 9-10. (Moscow, 1980),434-435.In thisreferencefroman articleon the
5. Soi'ctskaia voennaia entsiklopediia (Moscow: Gos- armies of Europe Engels compared Jominiand Clausewitz as
udarstvennoe Slovaro-Entsiklopedicheskoe Izdatel'stvo, both being respected authoritieson militaryaffairs.The entire
1933). 1, cc. 834-835. Karl Marx and Frederich Engels, Karl pointof the section was to show thatthe Prussian officercorps
Marlx Frederic/h Engels Werke,21 (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1972), was the best educated militaryelite in the world. It said nothing
350-351. On Engels' subsequent views of socialist movement about the substance of Clausewitz' ideas. A letterto Marx in
and the prospectsforrevolutionsee David McLellan, Marxism 1859 does show that Engels had read Von Kriege, but his
AfterMcarxv (Boston: Houghton MifflinCompany, 1979), 9-17; subsequentreferencesto theworkwere,at best, pedestrian.See
W. 0. Henderson,The Lifev of'FriedriclIEngels (London: Frank Collected Works, 18, 279. On the relationship,or lack of it,
Cass, 1976), 11, 416-446; and Marx and Engels, Karl Marx between Engels' readingof Clausewitz and Lenin's views see
Frederic/hEngels Werke, 22 (Berlin: Dietz Verleg, 1972), MartinBerger,Engels, Armies and Revolution (Hamdon, CT,
509-527. 1977), 168-169.
6. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structureof ScientificRevolutions 25. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 26, 316-317.
(Chicago, 1970), 2nd Edition, 43-76. 26. Ibid., 32, 78-79.
7. Herbert Marcuse, Reason and Rev,olution (Boston: 27. Ibid., 104.
HoughtonMifflinCompany, 1960),321 and Karl Korsch, Mirx- 28. Alexander Rabinowitch,The BolsheviiksCome to Powver
ismus iund Pliilosopiy, Ed. F. Halliday (London: NLB, 1970), (New York, 1976).
61ff. 29. N. R. Pankratovet (il., V. I. Lenin i Sovetskie Voorulzhen-
8. Robert Tucker, Marx and Engels Reader (New York, nye sily (Moscow: Voennoe Izdatel'stvo, 1980), 88-91; S. A.
1978), 2nd Edition, 145. Tiushkevich et al., SoveetskieVoorulzhennye silv: Istoriia st-
9. McLellan, 20-54. roitel'stvca(Moscow: Voennoe Izdatel'stva, 1978). 11 ff; and
10. V. I. Lenin, Polnoc Sobranie soclhinenii,27 (Moscow: AlexanderFischer,"Die AnfangederRotenArmee 1917/18.Zur
Progress, 1965-1970),299-426. Theorie und Praxis revolutionarer Militarpolitik in bol-
11. Marxism-Leninismon War and Army (Moscow: Pro- schewistischen Russland, Militargeschichtliche Mit-
gress, 1972). teilungen, 18 (1975), 63-74.
12. The literatureon Lenin as a militarytheoristis quite 30. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 35, 244, 250, 256.
extensive.The followingworksare reflectiveof thegeneralline 31. Ibid., 36, 292.
of Soviet scholarshipon the topic. A. Strokov, 'V. 1. Lenin o 32. Clausewitz, On War, 497.
zakonomernostiakhvooruzhennoibor'by, o vsaimosviazi, raz- 33. V. Sorin, Partiia i oppocitsii: Ic istoriioppozitsionnykh
vitii i smene sposobov i form voennyky deistvii," Vestnik techlzenii kommanistov),(Moscow, 1925), 72.
l'oennoiistorii,Nalclinve /lapiski,2 (1971), 3-25; 1. Korotkov, 34. 1. A. Korotkov, Istoriia sovetskoi vooennoimysli (Mos-
"K istoriistanovleniiasovetsko voennoi nauki," Vestnik wOen- cow: Nauka, 1980), 28.
noi istor-ii,naiwtlinyea,)piski, 2 (1971), 42-70; A. N. Lagovskii, 35. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie soclhinenii,35, 409.
V. I., Lenin i soietskaia loennailanatika,2nd Edition(Moscow: 36. L. D. Trotsky,Socliineniia (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe
Voenizdat, 1981). Izdatel'stvo, 1925), XVII, pt. 1, 316.
13. Lenin, Polnoc sobrinie sochiinenii(Moscow, 1958-1966), 37. Tiushkevichet al., SoivetskieVoora-izchennyc silv, 38-39.
1, 164. 38. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochineniia, 38, 139-140. See
14. A. A. Bogdanov (nee A. A. Malinovsky)was a physcian, also Fediukin, Soivetskaia vlast i batrzhlaaznyespetsialisty
economist, writer,and early Bolshevik. Bogdanov had a large (Moscow: Mysl', 1965), 154-156.
followingin the left wing of the Bolshevik faction and quar- 39. M. N. Tukhachevsky,Ic7brannye proi.7i'edeniia(Moscow:
relledwithLenin over tactical issues, includingparticipationin Voennoe Izdatel'stvo, 1963), 1, 27-28.
the electionto the ThirdDuma. On philosophicalissues, Lenin 40. S. A. Fediukin, Soivetskaiavilast' i buarZlhazny'e spet-
seems not to have demanded any single line and toleratedthe sialisty, 59-61.
early effortsto develop a philosophical system in which the 41. Ibid., 62.
physicistErnst Mach's concept of sensual materialismfigured 42. Trotsky,Socliineniia, XVII, pt. 1, 371.
prominently.Bogdanov's Empiriomnonism, which combined 43. V. G. Kulikov, ed., Aktdemiia genercal'nogoshtatba:
Mach withideas taken fromBerdiaev and Lunacharsky,called Istoriia vOennoi ordenov, lenina i Sui'oroi'a I stepeni akadvemii
into question the philosophical foundations of Marx's own general'nogo slitatb *ooruzlennvklisil SSSR imeniK. E. Vor-
materialism,which had their roots in Spinoza and Holbach. ochzilov(Moscow: Voennoe Ixdatel'stvo, 1976), 19-21;and Ko-
Lenin did not, however, attack this philosophical revisionism rotkov,Istoriia sovetskoi voennoi mvsli, 28-31.
untilBogdanov's Empiriomonismwas identifiedin printas the 44. Korotkov, Istoriia sovetskoi l'oennoi mysli,244.
philosophyof Bolshevism and threatenedto bringdown upon 45. Sovetskaia voennaia entsiklopediia,11,210, 314.
the factionthe charge thatLenin mostfeared ideological revis- 46. Kulikov, Akademiia general'nogo slitaba, 6-7.
ionism. Then Lenin enteredinto the philosophicalarena to do 47. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 35, 395-409.
battle in the name of orthodoxyand in order to separate Bol- 48. N. 1. Shatagin, Organi,catsiiai stroitel'sti'o soivetskoi
shevismfromEmpirimonismand Bogdanov. On Bogdanov and armii v period inostrannoivoennoi8intervntsii orijrafdavnsk,oi
Lenin see S. V. Utechin,'Philosophy and Society: Alexander voinv(1918-1920) (Moscow: Nauka, 1970), 383-394.
Bogdanov," in Leopold Labedz, ed., Re)visionism:Essalys on 49. N'. Bukharin, '"'K teorii imperialisticheskogo gos-
thecHi.storyof Maxrxist Idccas (London: George Allen and Un- udarstva,"Re^voliustsiiapravta: Sbornikpevrivi (Moscow, 1925),
win, 1962), 117-125. 31. In 1919 Bukharinand E. Preobrazhenskycollaborated in
15./Ibid., 35. writingThecABC ofCommulnism,a textbookforpartyagitators


and propagandists,explainingthe Party's new program,which 54. M. N. Tukhachevsky,"K voprosu o sovremennoistra-
had been adopted by the 8thPartyCongress in March 1919. In tegii," in Voina i voennoe iskusstvo v sveta istoricheskogo
thatworktheauthorstalkedabout thenegationoftheRed Army materializma (Moscow: Gosizdat, 1927), 127; and M. N. Tu-
in its final victory over capital, about its foundations in a khachevskii,Izbrannyeproizvedeniia, II, 26-27 (citingan arti-
workers'militia,and about the hostilityto the barracks system cle in Pravda of 23 February 1928). It is noteworthythat in his
of training,and about the temporaryutilityof the military call for militarization,Tukhachevskii cited Clausewitz and
specialists.In the end bothmen saw the armydisappearingafter Lenin. See "K voprosu o sovremennoistrategii," 116-123.
the victoryin the civil war and were hostileto the creationof a 55. Joseph Stalin,Leninism: Selected Writings(New York:
permanentmilitarycaste. See Nikolai Bukharin and E. Pre- InternationalPublishers, 1942), 200.
obrazhensky,The ABC of Communism:A Popular Explanation
of theProgram of the CommunistPartv of Russia (Ann Arbor:
Ann Arbor Paperback, 1967), 205-219. For a ftulldiscussion of
the relationship between Bukharin's perceptions about de- JacobW.Kippis Professor ofRussianHistoryatKansasState
velopmentof state capitalism and the concept of equilibrium University.Forthelasttwoyearshe has beena visiting
theory in his historicalmaterialism,see Stephen F. Cohen, at MiamiUniversityinOxford,Ohio.A graduateofShippensburg
Bukharinand theBolshevikRevolution:A Political Biography, University,he receivedhis PhD fromthe Pennsylvania State
1888-1938(New York: AlfredA. Knopf, 1973), 117-122. Universityin1970.He is co-editor,
withRobinHigham, ofSoviet
50. Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 44, 60.
51. N. F. Kuz'min, Na strazhe mirnogo truida(1921-1940 AviationandAirPower(Westview, 1977)andservedas associate
gg.), (Moscow: Voenizdat, 1959), 6-9. editorof MilitaryAffairs,
1979-1983.He has publishedmany
52. "Vypuski i zamechaniia na kniguKlauzevitsa 'O voine i articleson Russianand Sovietnavaland military history.
vedenii voin'," Leninskiisobrnik, 12 (1931), 390. articlewas acceptedforpublication
inFebruary 1985.
53. Frunze, "Edinaia voennaia doktrinai Krasnaia armiia,"
Voennaia Nauka i revoliutsiia,No. 2 (1921), 39.

by David Kahn

CARLISLE Barracks, Pa. - Intellectualfisticuffsbroke out so they can't withstandany changes on technology.On Wair
on 25 and 26 Aprilat the firstconferenceever held in the doesn't tell you how to cook. It says what cooking is and what
United States on Carl von Clausewitz, widely regardedas the does it serve. Clausewitz is useful because he is not useful.
world's greatestphilosopherof war. Everybodyelse has triedto be useful- and that's whythey're
Militaryhistoriansand majors and colonels who are students outdatedby the next weapons systemthathas come aroundthe
at the U.S. ArmyWar College here disputed whetherClause- corner.Clausewitz deals withideas, not reality,and thisis why
witz' classic work,On War, whichis requiredreadingat many he is eternal."
militaryacademies, has been outdated by moderntechnology. RetortedHandel: "What happens in theoryisn't as important
Clausewitz, a Prussiangeneralstaffofficerwho foughtin the in war as what happens in reality."
Napoleonic wars, died in 1831. While early militarywriters Voices were occasionally raised in the wood-paneled con-
had concentratedon such mattersas lines ofapproachto a battle ferenceroom,and therewere plentyof interruptions and tough-
or encirclingstrategies,Clausewitz emphasized the psycho- soundingremarks. "I want to drop a bomb on Martin," said
logicalaspects ofwar, such as the need fora generalto be firmof WilliamsonMurray,professorof historyat Ohio State. But the
purpose, and the political aspects. His most famous dictum participantssaid the remarkswere just part of academic give-
describes war as the continuationof politics by other means. and-take.
Michael Handel, a professorat the War College and organizer During a free-wheelingdiscussion on politics in war, John
oftheconference,pointedout areas in whichnew weapons have Gooch, a professorat the Universityof Lancaster in England,
affectedClausewitz' theories. "Strategic surprise, which he said he had been told the Soviets were pickingtheirtargetsfora
thoughtnot possible, is now feasible," said Handel. "This also conventional war in Europe not on militarybut on political
makes intelligencemuch more importantthan he saw it as." grounds. When someone contradictedthat, Gooch responded,
Unity of command has also become much more complex, "If you reallythinkthat,that's whyyou're goingto lose thenext
Handel said. war against the Russians - if there is one."
Martinvan Creveld, a professorat the Hebrew Universityin Creveld contendedthatthe Prussian regardedintelligenceas
Jerusalem,declared of Handel's presentation,"I don't agree essential, but other participantsobserved that the problemof
witha singleword he said. If Michael is correct,you'd have to uncertaintyin intelligence,whichClausewitz stressed,remains
add a new dimensionto whatClausewitz wroteevery 10 or 20 or serious,despitemodern-daysatellitephotographyand electron-
25 years, and thiswould mean he'd have a hundreddimensions ic intercepti9n.They pointed to such intelligencefailuresas
and would be entirelyout-of-date,and we wouldn't be sitting Pearl Harbor,theTet offensivein Vietnam,theoverthrowofthe
here today." Shah of Iran, and the Arab surpriseattackon Israel thatstarted
In his own remarks,Creveld said, "Justas cookbooks tellyou the Yom Kippur war in 1973 as demonstratingthat in intelli-
how to cook a chicken,mostbooks on war tell you how to fight, gence as in othermatters,Clausewitz still has much to teach.
OCTOBER 1985 191